Monday, June 9, 2014

How to Get Past the Envy

Let me start off by admitting that I do not have the answer to the question that is the title of this blog: "How to get past the envy?"  It's an on-going question in my own mind, so I figured I would blog about it, as that has always helped to provide clarity and guidance.

It's ironic because I just wrote a week or so ago about being genuinely happy for others' success.  That by being happy for them, and sending out happiness, you are guaranteeing that you will receive happiness and success in return.

That's a fantastic concept, idea, and theory.  And I do believe in the merit of it.  But that doesn't make it easy.

Just now I was perusing a writer's forum, looking for marketing advice for novelists.  While I did not find any great marketing gems, I did find a good dose of negativity, mixed in with others proclaiming the success of their novels (aka: selling thousands of copies each month!).

I have to admit, after the short few minutes I spent in that forum, I was feeling down.  I probably will not return to that forum for a very long time, if ever again because of that.

When I read the posts from authors sharing their own successes, I would love to say that I felt nothing but heartfelt happiness for each one of them.  However, that's not the case.  I felt happy for them after I reminded myself that that was what I was supposed to feel, but my first feeling was envy.

Thoughts such as, "Why aren't my books selling like theirs?" "What am I doing wrong?" "Maybe I'm not cut out to be a novelist after all." "What if I never make it?" ran amok through my head.

The truth is, I want sales like they claim to have (thousands each and every month).  That is my goal.  That would enable me to live off my writing.  So to read of others achieving that goal, made me more envious of them, than happy for their success.

I am happy for other writers' success though.  I am.  (Do you believe it yet, because I'm not sure I do.)

For me, this is one of the hardest parts of life.  Dealing with not getting what you want, while others get what you want, and maintaining the good spirits and positivity to keep pushing onward anyway.

I know I'm not alone here.  I have a teacher friend who is looking for a new position in a new school district.  She's very qualified and a great teacher.  Yet, she continues to get turned down for positions that she applies for, and other (seemingly not as qualified) applicants get hired.

I have no doubt no matter what your profession or what it is you're going for, disappointment isn't a foreign concept.  Watching others succeed while you continue to flounder, struggle, and "find your way" is a common facet of life.

One of my favorite types of stories are stories of how now-successful people made it - especially when the story includes the early times of struggle and rejection.  I identify with those stories.  I'm still in the early times of struggle, so reading how they "made it out" and achieved the success they were aiming for, is very inspiring for me.

If you want something bad enough, you're not going to give up on it.  And if you don't give up, chances are, it'll happen for you eventually.

A couple tidbits of stories I read recently:  Morgan Freeman didn't achieve success as an actor until he was in his 50s!  Scottie Pippen only made his college basketball team as an equipment manager!  Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.  Sidney Poitier was told at one of his first auditions that he should stick with washing dishes.  Wayne Dyer was told that he didn't have potential as a speaker or author.
There are so many stories like that.  The reason is, it's such a common human experience.

Sure, there are those people for whom success seems to just fall into their laps.  Who hit a home run their first time up to bat.  But if you have noticed, those types of people don't seem to make it long-term.  They might hit it big right out of the gate, but they tend to self-destruct.  There are plenty of those stories as well.

I think the point to remember is everything happens for a reason.  That is something I have always believed.  We are where we are at this moment because it's where we're supposed to be at this moment.

If you have a dream, a desire, within you, then it is possible for you to achieve.  You wouldn't have the desire if it weren't within the realm of possibilities for your life.

These are the things I also have to remind myself.

So to circle back to the title of this post: How to get past the envy?  Just keep on movin'.  Recognize that envy just came up in you, let it go right on out of you, and return to the state of peace, happiness, and love.  Even if you have to remind yourself to return to that state!

That's how we all learn.  Through making mistakes (such as feeling envious), and continuing to practice whatever it is (thinking happy thoughts and wishing others well, sincerely).

And whatever your dream is.... Keep moving towards it.  Some days huge leaps are made, other days it's all we can muster to take a tiny step.  But keep steppin'!  Each step you take, each action you do, brings you that much closer to your dreams.

So keep an open heart.  Keep an open mind.  Be grateful for where you are right now.  And keep moving in the direction of your dreams.

In peace and love,


  1. Nice post, Sarah. I think you are on the right track. What works for me is to remember that not everything is as it seems. We all experience peaks and valleys in our lives. I recently shared a success story in a social media forum (not the CC) and, though in this group we are encouraged to do so, I was met with a couple of snarky comments. I wanted to respond: "But, hey, you don't know how hard I've worked, how many hours I've toiled and how much money I've invested to get here--and "here" isn't even anywhere close to where I want to be!" I decided not to respond, though, because I have a right to be happy and celebrate my accomplishments, no matter how big or small, and it doesn't really matter what other people think about me. As the saying goes: "What you think of me is none of my business." You just keep your mind focused on achieving your goals and dreams. It really does not matter what other people are doing or not doing. I think to myself: Is there anybody with whom I would trade places? And the answer is "no." I'll take my troubles over other people's troubles any day--and my rewards.

    1. Davina,
      Thanks for sharing your story and your comment. That is true - what others think of us is truly none of our business. And I agree with you - would I REALLY want to trade places with anyone? No. I like the live I've had up until now, and appreciate where I am now, and look forward to what is to come.
      Also, that's a great point that we don't know what it's taken for other people to reach the success we see. We don't know what they've given up or the hard times they've been through. Great point

  2. This is how I have been feeling with other actors getting more work than I am. I feel very envious because I know I am a good actress and I deserve to be working steadily. Whenever I feel this way, I just take time out for myself and meditate and create my own work. Some people like to rub their success into your face, I tend to stay away from those people because they do not support me nor lift me up. But feeling envious of other people's success is not uncommon. I believe that people who have to constantly talk about their success and rub it in people's faces are very insecure probably are envious of you. So don't worry about them. Thank you for this post.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Talya! I love what you said about when you're feeling envious of others' success, you take time out for yourself to meditate or create your own work. That's awesome! A great practice to live by! Thanks for sharing that.